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Many local drivers continue to feel “taxed” at the pump as they watch prices increase for another week. Maryland’s average has increased 22 cents since last month. The triple threat of the switchover to summer-blend gasoline, the higher price of crude oil and continuing refinery maintenance season will offer no refunds to drivers filling up their tanks for another few weeks.
Maryland's gas price average is $2.71, which is up six centsin the last week, up 22cents in the last month, and is three cents more than last year’s price.
Today’s national gas price average is $2.81, which is up nine cents in the last week, up 32 cents in the last month, and is 12 cents more than last year’s price.
CURRENT AND PAST GAS PRICE AVERAGES
Regular Unleaded Gasoline
At the close of NYMEX trading Friday, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil settled at $63.89 per barrel, 81 cents higher than one week ago. Oil settled at its lowest price of the week on Thursday ($63.58) following the release of a report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) predicting that while demand factors for crude remain strong, a slowdown in global economic growth could hurt demand for crude. On Wednesday, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported that U.S. crude supplies climbed for a third straight week. However, higher crude prices are being supported by tightening global oil markets amid the increasing effectiveness of U.S. sanctions on Iran and Venezuela. OPEC crude production fell to a four-year low in March as Saudi Arabia slashes output and Venezuelan supplies sink.
“Drivers are definitely noticing the continued increase of prices at the pump,” says Ragina Cooper Averella, manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “Until refineries return to normal operations, following seasonal maintenance, in the next few weeks, motorists should expect pump prices to continue increasing as gasoline demand grows.”
The Week Ahead
In its Short Term Energy Outlook, the EIA notes that for the 2019 summer driving season that runs from April through September, U.S. regular gasoline retail prices will average $2.76 per gallon, down from an average of $2.85 per gallon last summer, which reflects the EIA’s expectation of lower crude oil prices in 2019. For all of 2019, the EIA expects U.S. regular gasoline retail prices to average $2.60 per gallon and gasoline retail prices for all grades to average $2.71/gal, which would result in the average U.S. household spending about $100 (4%) less on motor fuel in 2019 compared with 2018. The EIA expects that West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil prices will average $58 per barrel in the first half of 2019 before the discount gradually falls to $54 per barrel in late-2019 and through 2020.
AAA has a variety of resources to help motorists save on fuel:
Next Weekend Gas Watch: Friday, April 19, 2019
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